December 4, 2019

Do you need massive action or fine-tuning?



One of my clients just emailed out his speaking schedule, inviting colleagues to attend. I was mistakenly added to the group—wrong Lisa!

Here's what I saw:

29 speaking engagements... over 3 months... across five midwestern states (they drive to the majority of their engagements).

And they do this every year. The owner of the company, the president, and several of their team members fan out across the midwest to speak to current and potential clients about their company and offerings, and to discuss agricultural issues, trends, and data.

I first worked with the owner of the company in 2013. In 2015, he hired me to train 15 of his employees. After the group training, I worked with several team members in a small group coaching cohort.

In 2016 and 2017, I worked with the president and another individual on their presentations, and this year, I provided additional coaching sessions for the president and another speaker.

Why are these clients still coming back to work with me, six years later? No, it's not because I'm an amazing coach. (Okay, I am an amazing coach!)

I mean, each one of these guys does somewhere between 20 and 25 presentations a year. Do they still really need to work on what is essentially the same presentation every year with updated data?

They're still working with me because they know there's always room for improvement! These men are stellar presenters. And their business grows every year, with new offices and new staff, because of it.

Every time we meet, we're making small tweaks, changing up the presentation openings, adding new interactive activities, finding new stories, and digging deeper into engagement techniques.

We're tightening up the core message, which may change from year to year, depending on what trends and issues arise.

And we're laser-focused on converting prospects to clients and current clients to renewing clients. This is still a requirement, every year, to grow their business. They always need new clients and they always need current clients to renew. As do all of us who are business owners.

Each time we meet, the president comes to the call with a series of questions to be answered and problems to be solved. And we tackle each one systematically until we have a solution.

Then he tests out our work in front of an audience and analyzes the results. And then, as they say, we "rinse and repeat."

High-level business speakers who have a lot of experience and years of presenting under their belt may feel that they no longer need support for their speaking. Or they may only seek out support when there's a high-stakes presentation looming on the calendar.

But as I've mentioned many times on this blog (because speakers and athletes have so many similarities), even the highest level athletes still have coaches.

Why? Because most of us are too close to our own work to identify what needs to change or how to change it.

And because those subtle calibrations that an elite athlete makes to their training and practice, with their coaches’ help, can create a huge advantage on the field, track or court between them and their competitors.

Florence Griffith Joyner still holds the women's 100-meter world record from 1988 at 10.49 seconds. Carmelita Jeter is right behind her at 10.64 seconds, a time recorded in 2009. The two closest times recorded in this decade were in 2012 and 2016 by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson. But still Flo-Jo (who died in 1998) holds the record.

Luckily, there's no competition to measure micro improvements to your presentations! Fine-tuning works as long as you're achieving your own desired results.

Business leaders who speak to grow their businesses also need to create an advantage over their competitors. In the coaching world, we say there are no competitors because each of us brings our own "special sauce" to our work, and each of our businesses is completely unique and different.

But unless you make yourself stand out from the others in your industry, unless your prospects and potential partners know how unique and different you are, your business may still appear to blend into a sea of similar companies.

There is no advantage to blending in. There is no advantage to appearing the same as others in your industry.

What are you doing to tweak your message, to fine-tune your presentations, to make yourself stand out when you speak in the community, at industry events, or even within your own company?

You don't need massive action anymore. You are at a level where the details are what matter. The fine points of your message, the minutiae of your slides, the arrangement of your paragraphs, the choice of one word over another.

This is the level where your adjustments may be small but will have major impact.

How are you creating incremental improvements in your presentation? And how can I help?

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

November 29, 2019

BF + SBS + Cyber Monday + Free Gift = Today!



I hope you're enjoying the long weekend (if you're in the US)! I realized that my friends in other countries now do Black Friday, even though there is no Thanksgiving on the preceding Thursday! Wow, talk about spreading American culture worldwide.

Personally, I don't shop on Black Friday. I enjoy the practice of "Buy Nothing Day" on the Friday after Thanksgiving because honestly, I'm not always proud of my own shopping habits.

However, I know that many of my friends and colleagues are looking for great deals today, and who am I to hold back a great deal from you? πŸ˜‰

I'm also a big fan of Small Business Saturday because I love supporting my fellow entrepreneurs and local small business owners.

And if everyone is going to be shopping holiday sales, whether for Instant Pots or smartwatches or shoes, why shouldn't you also be able to find holiday sales on coaching and other services from me and my fellow small businesses?

So I decided to wrap Black Friday into Small Business Saturday into Cyber Monday. Because I'm lazy and don't want to do separate offers!

And, as a thank you for being part of my community, I also created a special gift, just for you! πŸŽ Check it out below.

These offers are all available until midnight EST Monday.

First... something free!

gift

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My clients have been enjoying my Decision Grid so much as part of the Speaking Roadmap virtual retreat and Presentation Foundation Quickstart Kit that I decided to give you your own copy, along with an explainer video that walks you through the process!

This will help you organize your ideas and make your next big decision without being distracted by bright shiny objects and rabbit holes!

This offer has ended.

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Speaking Roadmap DIY Pilot Program registration ends Monday at midnight EST

I'm looking for ten people to go through a self-paced version of the Speaking Roadmap visioning and action planning process by December 31. It will take less than three hours of your time, I promise!

This offer has ended.

Cyber Monday Special: Video Presentation Review - NEW!

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Send me one of your presentation videos and specify a five-minute block you'd like me to evaluate.

I'll send you back a 10-point evaluation of your talk with quick suggestions for improvement.

Whether you need to refresh your opening, create a better closing, develop engagement activities, use more humor, update your slides, or anything else that needs a quick tweak, send it over and I'll help you upgrade whatever you're doing now so you get better results from your presentations!

This offer ends at midnight EST on Monday! There are four spots available at $99 each.

This offer has ended.



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

November 20, 2019

Moving on to 2nd Round of the 250-word Microfiction Challenge!



Like many people, I'm very happy in my comfort zone. I mean, it's comfy, right? That's why we stay there.

At the same time, I know that if I don't force myself out of my comfort zone, I won't grow as a person or as a professional. And communication challenges are particularly interesting to me, as a way to expand the skills I use and teach as a public speaking coach.

Last year, I took a chance and submitted a story idea to the Storytellers Project, even though I had never considered myself a storyteller. Sure, I "tell stories" all the time. But calling myself a "storyteller" had a whole different connotation - one that implied that I was actually entertaining. And wouldn't that mean I had a big head and was full of myself?

Well, I submitted the story, and I was selected to tell my story among a lineup of six others with stories within the theme of "New Beginnings." Was I nervous? HELL YES. I'm a presenter. I'm a trainer. But I did not see myself as a storyteller. (And I had to memorize ten minutes of content, which I never have to do!)

It was a thrilling and nervewracking experience, and I'm so glad I did it! I think I have another story brewing that I will likely submit again. You can watch my story here. (And watch the others as well, because they were brilliant.)

In October of this year, I came across a short story competition. A short-short story competition, in fact. It was a microfiction contest where the submissions had to be completed in 24 hours, and each writer was put into a group with a shared genre, action, and word assignment.

I haven't written fiction in over 20 years, but as someone who prefers to take action rather than spend a lot of time planning or dwelling, I thought: "I can write a 250-word story in 24 hours!" And away I went.

My group, Group 10, was given the following assignment:
Genre: Ghost story
Action: Riding a bus
Word: Broken

We submitted our stories on October 5, and then we had to wait over six weeks for the results. The top ten stories from each group will move onto the second round, each person placed into a new group with a new genre, action, and word.

I made it! My story came in #6 out of the 13 in my group, and now I wait for November 22, when the clock starts ticking down 24 hours again.

And since my story is super short (micro, in fact), I'm pasting it here to share. Wish me luck in Round 2!

The Bus to Bogota

Gina takes one final drag, inhaling deeply, disappointed to waste half of a cigarette. Isn’t there any place where you can still smoke on public transportation? Not Colombia.

She boards the bus and settles in for the long ride from Manizales to Bogota, hoping to sleep, hoping for peace. But her body abruptly stiffens, the hair on her arms standing on end. It's not the arctic air conditioning causing the sudden chill.

"Nat?" Gina almost says his name out loud, but it's crazy. He's not here.

And yet, she feels his presence surrounding her, like a binding embrace. Like old times.

She breathes in through her nose and out through her mouth, eyes closed. A trick she learned while in therapy.

She had come halfway around the world to escape the places and people who reminded her of her life with Nat. They didn't know about the violence. They didn't know about her prison. While her heart was broken the day he died, it was also the day she was freed from his brutality.

"Nat can't be here. He's dead." She says it out loud. Firmly. Convincingly.

She knows he's dead because she had administered the overdose herself. She had watched his painful, gruesome death. She had called 911. She had planned his funeral. She had tossed dirt onto his casket.

"I'm here, Gina." Where is Nat's voice coming from? Is this real? It must be a sign of exhaustion.

The chill deepens. She feels his oppressive grip.

"I'm here."


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

September 18, 2019

Fear isn't the reason you avoid speaking...



Not Alex Honnold...
Raise your hand if you watched "Free Solo," the documentary about Alex Honnold's untethered climb of El Capitan's 900-meter vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.

Now raise your hand if you watched with one eye closed, hands in front of your face, hiding in a closet!

Sometimes even watching someone else do something frightening scares us: even when we know he emerges unscathed!

The interesting thing about watching Honnold scale El Cap is that he wasn't scared (or at least not as much has he should have been!).

He was cautious. He was careful. He was alert. He was deliberate. He was methodical. And he was prepared.

One thing Alex Honnold doesn't do: Avoid rock climbing because he might fall.

And yes, this is a metaphor for public speaking. Cuz you know me and you know where this is going.
"I try to expand my comfort zone by practicing the moves over and over again. I work through the fear until it's just not scary anymore."
What does Honnold do in order to expand his comfort zone? He practices. Over and over again.

Makes sense, right? The more you practice, the more you put yourself into the situation that scares you, the more comfortable you become.

First of all, let's just get this out of the way: Alex Honnold is what is known as a "freak of nature," a person who is uniquely suited to what he does, because of genetics, because of training, because of his particular mental makeup. No amount of doing what Honnold does will make you Honnold.

But getting back to practical matters: You might argue, "But Alex Honnold LIKES rock climbing. He's not doing it because he HAS to. He practices because he likes doing it."

Fair enough. And here's what I say to that: You don't HAVE to do public speaking. You GET to do public speaking!

Here are a couple of examples of what you get every time you give a presentation, whether you're an entrepreneur, author, business professional, nonprofit leader or someone else who has something important to say:
  • You get to share an important message with the world
  • You get to transform even one person's life
  • You get to raise money for your cause
  • You get to show your boss that you're a rock star
  • You get to show the world your expertise and authority on a subject
  • You get to learn and grow from your mistakes
  • You get to build confidence in your abilities
(And there are more...)

And then I might argue: What if you learned to like public speaking, or even love it? What then? What could you do with this skill? Where could it take you?

My friends, colleagues and clients do a lot of avoiding of public speaking. And by "avoiding," I mean either not pursuing speaking opportunities or saying no when opportunities are presented.

And these reasons are not all about fear, by the way. Many of my clients  are comfortable speaking, and they avoid it anyway - until they can't any longer! Some common excuses:
  • They don't have time to prepare
  • They don't know what to talk about
  • They don't know where to begin
  • They don't know how to end
  • They don't know how to structure a presentation effectively
  • They don't think they know enough about their topic
  • They don't know how to be engaging and make their topic interesting
  • They don't think they're the right person to speak on the topic
And so on...

This is a vicious circle, right? You don't make time to properly prepare or practice... and then you give a presentation that's only so-so... and you don't enjoy yourself... and the audience looks bored... so you assume that this is just something you don't like and you're not good at.

And because it's something you don't like and you're not good at... you don't take more opportunities to practice and learn how to do it right... so you only give a presentation once a year... and every time it's like starting all over again.

It doesn't have to be this way!
  • I can show you how to prepare and practice
  • I can help you discover what to talk about
  • I can teach you where to begin and how to end
  • I can give you tools to structure a presentation effectively
And...
  • You DO know enough about your topic
  • You CAN be engaging and make your topic interesting
  • You ARE the right person to speak on the topic
If you're avoiding speaking because you don't know where to start, what to talk about and how to put it all together, I've got you covered.

If you're avoiding speaking because of discomfort, fear of judgement, fear of making mistakes, or any of the other fears that we face when making a big statement to the world:
“You’re not controlling your fear.  You’re stepping outside of it.”
 Another Alex Honnold gem, there.

I've got a downloadable, DIY, on-demand product for you that is going to help you build every presentation on a solid foundation of concrete. No more excuses. No more avoiding. No more fear (well, a little is okay, but not if it keeps you avoiding!). Just forward action.

Click the image to grab your new Presentation Foundation Quickstart Kit. Eyes wide open!




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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

September 16, 2019

I can't believe I've never taught this...



So... this is weird. I just realized something yesterday when going through the surveys I've sent to my peeps about what kind of help they need with their public speaking.

What do you think shows up higher on the list than building confidence, reducing anxiety and engaging the audience? (answer coming...)
.
.
.
πŸ‘‰πŸ‘‰This: Knowing what to say and how to say it in an organized and compelling fashion!πŸ‘ˆ (Did you guess correctly?)

Guess who has never offered support around this topic, except to my individual coaching clients! I know! ME! 🀦‍🀯🀷‍

DUH moment: I need to share these tools with more people who need them‼️

A lot of entrepreneurs, business professionals and nonprofit leaders WANT to be out there speaking, but they just don't know WHAT to say or HOW to say it.

🀸🀸🀸So here it comes: I'm developing a product for you - downloadable, DIY, on-demand - that will give you the tools for

1. WHAT to say
2. HOW to say it
3. How to STRUCTURE it
4. How to make it ENGAGING
5. And how this gets your audience to take ACTION

I already do this work 1-on-1 with my private coaching clients, but you're going to get a standalone product that you can use over and over, every time you need to give a new presentation.

And there's going to be something ✨extra-special✨ about this offering, but you'll have to wait for the rest of the details. 🀭

Want more info? Just raise your hand in the comments! ✋✋✋ (Or say "YES!" if you're emoji-challenged.)


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 30, 2019

Why your role model doesn't have all the answers



"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once. But don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own." ~ Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is one of our country's most beloved role models. Her advocacy, sense of style, willingness to speak authentically about a range of issues, and of course, her book (which took only 15 days to break the record for the most copies of any book sold in 2018), have made raving fans of millions of people.

Positive role models often embody characteristics we wish we had. Even when we know that role models are human and flawed, just like all of us, we find comfort in knowing there are people in the world whose work, behavior or abilities we can admire and even strive to emulate.

But I believe that in looking up to role models, we discount our own ability to influence others.

We look to role models to speak up, because they're celebrities (in one way or another), they have a bigger platform, they already have the attention of many, and they have the superpower of being able to bounce back from bad press or criticism. Sometimes it seems like speaking up is something "other people" do.

Maybe it takes the pressure off; if someone else is speaking up for change, you don't have to. It's easy to hide behind our role models, to share their quotes on Facebook, to give their books as gifts, to pay top dollar to hear them speak at events, and to continue to let them do all the advocacy and activism.

Michelle Obama impacts millions of people, but she doesn't resonate with everyone. None of us will resonate with everyone.

But what if you could impact 100 people with your message? What if you could impact ten people? What if you could change one person's life? 

What if you could be someone else's role model?

Guess what: You already are!

There are people who look up to you. Your message and your story are unique to you, and there are people who need to hear exactly what you have to say, in the unique way that you say it.

In fact, you might be advocating for the same important issues as a well-known celebrity or other known personalities or experts, and yet you have the opportunity to connect with individuals and your community on a personal level that a celebrity rarely gets.

Role models are often inspiring teachers and examples to us. But don't forget that you can also be a role model, and probably already are.

Don't wait for the someone else to speak up. Now is the time. You have the right message. And you are the right person for the people who need you. And believe me, people need you.

Michelle Obama said it herself in the quote above: "...don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own."

Now, who are you going to go out and inspire?

If you desire to impact and influence your audiences in a bigger way through speaking up for change, there are still spots open in my new Speaking Up For Change: Engage, Inspire, Transform online program starting September 10.

Speaking Up For Change banner



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 27, 2019

She nailed it!



I started working with a client last month who was tapped to give a presentation at a leadership conference within her industry. The audience was made up of younger versions of herself (don't you wish you could always speak to younger versions of yourself?), and she was challenged to share her story while also teaching leadership lessons.

She came to me with some common concerns: She's used to "winging it" and not not fully preparing; she gets a little bit of stage fright right before she speaks; and this was very different from her usual shorter and more technical presentations.

Her goals were straightforward and simple: to be more strategic, impactful, and prepared, and to provide an authentic and inspiring experience for the young leaders in the room. Also, because she's applying for a new, more visible, leadership role in her company, she wanted to leave a good impression and to come across as thoughtful, articulate and organized.

We spent 90 minutes together - three 30-minute sessions over the phone - to prepare her content, structure, engagement activities and slides.

As I had hoped, on Friday I got an "I nailed it" email, with a great testimonial.

But the best part was when I asked for permission to use her words on my website. This was her response:

"Yes of course! Thank you so much again. I am ironically eager to try another presentation!"

This is what REALLY lights me up.

Sure, I want my clients to walk away from their presentations feeling confident, successful, and impactful.

I love to hear that their audience related to what they said and that audience members' attitudes and thoughts about themselves as leaders have changed.

I especially love it when one of the organization's leaders tells my client she should do a TED talk! πŸ€―πŸΎπŸŽ‰

But mostly? I want them to see all the possibilities that await them as speakers.

I want them to enjoy it so much that they want to do it again and again!

And I want them to experience #speakingupforchange firsthand.

This client is now planning to apply to be one of 13 speakers at a conference that just happens to be a partnership between her company and TED!

If you desire to impact and influence your audiences in a bigger way through speaking up for change, I want to let you know that there are still spots open in my new Speaking Up For Change: Engage, Inspire, Transform online program starting September 10. (The graphic says 9/11, but it is in fact 9/10.)

But the 1:1 coaching bonus goes away on Friday.

When you sign up for the program, you'll get personal attention from me on putting together your presentation, within the Facebook group, but you won't get a free 1:1 coaching call with me unless you sign up for the program by this Friday.

Do you want to nail your presentations?

Do you want to experience the powerful results of speaking up for change?

Do you want to go out into the world and deliver your message with joy, confidence and ease, over and over and over again!

Please join me!

____________________________________________________
Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

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